Suppose you went to your favorite bakery and bought a dozen fresh bagels because you were seduced by their amazing aroma. Since you can’t eat all of them before they go stale, you wonder, “Can I freeze bagels?”
You can freeze bagels and keep them frozen for up to 4 months. However, you’ll need to freeze the bagels properly and protect them from freezer burn if you want to maintain their taste and quality.
In this article, I’ll explain how to store fresh bagels in the freezer along with the correct way to thaw and use them. So, let’s get started.
How to Freeze Bagels (4 Steps)
While it’s possible to refrigerate bagels, they’ll only stay fresh for up to three days. If you’re planning to use bagels within a day or two, it’s better to store them at room temperature than place them in the fridge.
But if you want to keep bagels fresh for a longer time, consider using the steps listed below to freeze them.
- Place a bagel on a flat surface horizontally and use a sharp knife to cut it sidelong gently. Use the same technique to cut as many bagels in half as you want.
- Cover all the sliced bagel halves using plastic wrap individually to make them airtight. You can also use a heavy-duty paper bag for each bagel piece if you don’t have any plastic wrap.
- Place all the wrapped bagels in freezer-friendly resealable bags. Press out the excess air from each freezer bag to minimize the risk of freezer burn and potential contamination.
- Place the freezer bags at the back part or near the bottom of the freezer. Make sure that your freezer temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
How to Defrost Bagels
The best thing about freezing bagels is that you can heat them immediately after removing them from the freezer.
One of the quickest ways to use frozen bagels is to place them in a toaster oven. Most modern toasters come with bagel settings that you can use for this purpose.
But if your model doesn’t have this setting, you’ll need to toast a frozen bagel for about five minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to heat it properly. You don’t need to preheat your toaster oven for this method to work.
It’s also possible to defrost a frozen bagel in the microwave oven. Just place your bagel in a microwave-friendly container and heat it for 30 to 40 seconds (I’d recommend wrapping it in a damp paper towel first to help the bagel retain moisture). This method comes in handy if you’re in a hurry and want to thaw and eat frozen bagels quickly.
If you want to use your frozen bagels in a recipe, like a bread pudding, consider thawing them at room temperature. Just remove them from the freezer and let them sit on your kitchen countertop for two to four hours.
How Long Can You Freeze Bagels Safely?
You can store freshly baked bagels in the freezer for up to four months. Keep in mind that the longer the bagels stay in the freezer the more taste and quality they will lose.
They’ll also start to become hard and chewy if you keep them in the freezer for more than two months. Therefore, I recommend you use your frozen bagels within two months to enjoy the best taste.
How to Prevent Freezer Burn on Bagels?
The first and most important step to prevent freezer burn is to make sure that you don’t freeze hot bagels. That’s because hot bagels will release moisture during the freezing process and form ice crystals. These ice crystals will ultimately lead to a freezer-burned-tasting bagel.
So, let hot bagels cool down and come to room temperature before placing them in the freezer. In addition, it’s also important to wrap the bagels with plastic wrap and use airtight freezer bags to make them airtight.
It’ll keep the bagels from losing moisture content, which is the primary cause of freezer burn.
Is it Necessary to Slice Bagels Before Freezing?
No, it’s not necessary to slice bagels before freezing them. But you should do it as it’ll keep you from going through the hassle of trying to slice frozen bagels when you need to use them. Plus, pre-sliced frozen bagels are easy to just pop in the toaster.
Although, some people say that slicing bagels before freezing increases the risk of freezer burn as more surface area of the bagel will be exposed to the cold.
However, if you use the correct freezing technique and make each bagel slice airtight, you won’t encounter this problem. So, it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Can Bagels Go Bad in the Freezer?
Yes, bagels can go bad in the freezer even if you use the correct freezing technique. Just like any other frozen food, bagels lose their texture and flavor over time when frozen.
Frozen bagels can also go bad within a month if air can reach them. It’ll cause freezer burn and bagels will no longer be edible.
Make sure that you remove bagels from their original packaging before freezing and consider using plastic wrap, paper bags, or aluminum foil to cover them (using multiple layers of wrapping is recommended).
That’s because the original packaging or bagels contain a lot of air that will affect the quality and taste of food significantly. Not to mention that the original packaging may be too thin or porous to protect the bagels from direct contact with the freezer air.
Can You Freeze Bagel Dough?
You can freeze bagel dough to make homemade bagels in the future using the steps listed below.
- Let the bagel dough go through its first rise/proofing.
- Make small rounds of dough when making bagels.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray non-stick oil on it.
- Now place dough rounds on the sheet in a single layer and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours.
- Remove the sheet from the freezer and wrap each dough piece using plastic wrap.
- Place the wrapped pieces in freezer bags and place them in the freezer after removing excess air.
- This way, the bagel dough will stay fresh for up to three months, and you’ll be able to use it just like fresh dough.
Can You Freeze Bagels – Final Words
Freezing bagels not only extends their shelf life but also keeps you from having to visit a local bakery or store every time you have a desire for one. It’s a great way to make sure that you always have this bread product whenever you want to eat it.
I hope this guide has helped you understand how to preserve bagels for up to four months, along with the effective methods to thaw them before eating.